What are there new angles on a town that I think I know backwards and forwards? Are there hidden staircases or new passages into the unknown? And if there are, how do I find them? Can I see the city and perhaps myself in new ways?
I’ve been asking myself those questions a lot lately.
The answers seemed unlikely to come by starting at my computer screen or doodling at my desk, so I hopped on my bike and tried to avoid the normal places I ride. When possible, I ditched the bike route and turned on random streets. I rode on busy thoroughfares, instead of the quiet ones and I turned on the steep streets instead of the mellow ones.
I rode until I reached that awkward point when sweat was building on my torso while my toes were starting to get cold. Heading into a forested park, I ascended to a winding path which I usually avoid. It follows a monotonous but zen-like grade through firs and maples that never seem to change. There’s no particular vantage point nor destination. No progress seems made, the view fails to differ; much like my current life.
It was the perfect way to occupy my body without requiring much of the mind. By now my hands were cool too, but I didn’t mind. I just kept pedaling along and thinking.
As the trail came to an end, I was at the edge of town. I descended to a bridge over the river and saw downtown in the distance.
It was still the same city, the same grid, the same trees.
I realized what I already knew; the only thing that could change would be my approach to it.